Friday, July 31, 2015

Inhuman by Kat Falls

Series: Fetch (bk. 1)

Genera(s): Dystopian Sci-fi

Subjects: mutants, animals, viruses, survival, adventure

Setting: Davenport, Iowa; Moline, Illinois; Chicago, Illinois

POV/Tense: 1st person POV, past tense: Delaney Park McEvoy

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 375 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover and soon in Paperback

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Summary/ product description: “In a world ravaged by mutation, a teenage girl must travel into the forbidden Savage Zone to recover lost artifacts or her father’s life is forfeit.

America has been ravaged by a war that has left the eastern half of the country riddled with mutation. Many of the people there exhibit varying degrees of animal traits. Even the plantlife has gone feral.

Crossing from west to east is supposed to be forbidden, but sometimes it’s necessary. Some enter the Savage Zone to provide humanitarian relief. Sixteen-year-old Lane’s father goes there to retrieve lost artifacts—he is a Fetch. It’s a dangerous life, but rewarding—until he’s caught.

Desperate to save her father, Lane agrees to complete his latest job. That means leaving behind her life of comfort and risking life and limb—and her very DNA—in the Savage Zone. But she’s not alone. In order to complete her objective, Lane strikes a deal with handsome, roguish Rafe. In exchange for his help as a guide, Lane is supposed to sneak him back west. But though Rafe doesn’t exhibit any signs of “manimal” mutation, he’s hardly civilized . . . and he may not be trustworthy.”

My Review:  Inhuman was as amazing as I expected, but I didn’t expect it to be set in the state I live, Illinois. I didn’t know Kat Falls was from Illinois. I met her at the YA lit conference I Naperville last year and got my copy of Inhuman signed and I finally just read it. Inhuman is unlike and dystopian book I’ve read. Sure, it’s got a virus, but this virus turns people into animal instead of zombies. It causes people to mutate and become “manimals” and later, ferals.

I had thought that Lane’s love interest would be a wild animal-boy, but that wasn’t the case. At least not yet.  Lane ends up having to go to the Feral Zone to find her father who turns out to be a “fetch” (a person who brings requested items over the wall). What he does is illegal and the only way to wipe his record is to do a fetch for an official. Lane runs into some issues. She meets a young line guard named Everson, and a hunter named Rafe. Lane wants someone to take her to Moline because her father may be there. Some romance happens, as well as funny bickering between Lane, Rafe and Everson.

The story reminds me of Madman’s Daughter by Meagan Shepherd, which is a retelling of the Island of Dr. Moreau. The story seems very Dr. Moreau like, but set in post-pandemic Iowa and Illinois. There are the manimals and feral, but there are also mongrel. The mongrels are animals (not humans turned animals) that have multiple species DNA. They are chimeras. There are mole-chimps (chimpacabras) and piranha bats (weevlings), and hyena-boars. Creepy freaky creature that I have a hard time picturing. If this was a movie, then the CQI folks would have a heck of a challenge (and the make-up people too).

The setting of this book makes some familiar to me feel unfamiliar in a good way. Living in Illinois, there is a lot of rural prairie areas, which the author mentioned. Also, part of the story in set in Chicago, in Lincoln Park zoo, which I’ve been to multiple times. The zoo becomes a place for the ferals and mongrels. I recommend this book to fans of the Madman’s Daughter series, the Feral series by Cynthia Leitich Smith, and other books about werewolves, were-people, animal people and mutants.

Cover Art Review: Very cool post-apocalyptic city-scape. The gold color fit. The wall is perfect for the story.

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